Discrimination of orientation and position disparities by binocularly activated neurons in cat straite cortex

J Neurophysiol. 1977 Mar;40(2):260-83. doi: 10.1152/jn.1977.40.2.260.


1. We have examined and compared the ability of binocularly activated striate neurons to make both position disparity and orientation disparity discrimination in the anesthetized (N2O/O2) and paralyzed cat preparation. 2. Accurate knowledge of eye position is essential for disparity studies. Using a retinal projection technique able to detect eye drifts of less than 3' arc per retinal landmark and less than 18' arc cyclorotation disparity, we determined eye drift during the course of 2- to 4-day experiments. After the initial eye rotation due to the anesthesia and the onset of paralysis (see below), rotational drift thereafter was mainly excyclorotatory and, from all causes, rarely totaled more than 4 degrees disparity. All our data have been corrected for this residual cyclorotatory drift. 3. Optimal stimulus orientation disparities were determined from quantitative monocular orientation tuning curves for 74 binocularly activated striate cells (37 simple, 3 hypercomplex I, 31 complex, 3 hypercomplex II) from nine cats. Without exception, the mean optimal stimulus orientation disparity in each of our animals showed a departure from zero disparity equivalent to an incyclorotation of the eyes (mean, 9.2 degrees; range, 2.7 degrees-15.9 degrees). 4. We attribute this mean optimal stimulus orientation disparity shift to ocular cyclorotation as a result of the initial anesthesia and paralysis. Assuming equal intortion, incyclorotation for each eye averages 4.6 degrees. On the assumption that the mean optimal stimulus orientation disparity is zero in normal life, we pooled results from the nine animals about their individual means. For the 74 cells the resulting distribution of the optimal stimulus orientation disparities had a range of about +/-15 degrees (simple cells: SD 4.9 degrees; complex cells: SD 7.4 degrees). 5. We examined the relationship of the sharpness of the orientation tuning curves to ocular dominance, to absolute orientation preference, and to other unit properties. The striking observation was the high correlation between the sharpness of orientation tuning curves for the two eyes of a binocular neuron. For simple cells the mean difference for the half-widths of half-height was only 2.54 degrees, with sharpness showing a high correlation between the two eyes (r=0.915) over half-width at half-heights ranging from 8.5 degrees to 41.8 degrees. Complex cells showed a similar, albeit weaker, correlation. 6. Having shown that, assessed monocularly binocular units show different orientation tunings in the two eyes, we undertook binocular experiments to ascertain if these differences were the optimal disparities of sharply tuned stimulus orientation disparity channels. Using a matrix stimulation paradigm to minimize the effects of spontaneous changes in responsiveness, we have simultaneously extracted bionocular stimulus orientation disparity and position disparity tuning curves from single striate neurons...

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Eye Movements
  • Orientation*
  • Perceptual Distortion
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Retina / physiology*
  • Rotation
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways
  • Visual Perception*